As we mark nearly a year of navigating the global pandemic that’s affected so much of our lives, we’ve learned a lot, things keep evolving, and vaccines are being administered.
Despite progress, we can’t let our guard down: We need to remain vigilant because criminals continue to take advantage of this health crisis, finding new ways to scam Floridians out of their money.
The latest consumer alert warns people not to post COVID-19 vaccine cards online. The cards are issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and include the vaccine recipient’s full name, birthdate, and vaccine location. You may not realize it but heinous opportunists can use this information to steal your identity or hack your online accounts.
Besides pilfering information from vaccine cards posted on social media, scammers may also copy the card to create fake vaccine documents and make them look realistic.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website—https://myfloridalegal.com/ includes a variety of consumer alerts to help you protect yourself from scams such as this one and tips to avoid Covid-19-related fraud. Check out the website for other tips to protect your sensitive information while posting on social media.
Unfortunately, criminals spend their time looking for ways to scam people, especially during crises like this pandemic.
That’s why I want to remind everyone to be cautious and skeptical generally if you receive calls from people asking for your personal information: Social Security number, birthdate, phone number, among others. Especially if someone calls you trying to help you reserve an appointment to get a vaccination.
States, not the federal government, are managing the process for administering the free COVID-19 vaccines. To do this, several counties, including Volusia, are using the state program, called Sharecare, to preregister for vaccine appointments and be notified when appointments are available. To preregister, visit myvaccine.fl.gov or call 866.201.7314. That doesn’t guarantee an appointment, and appointments may be in short supply due to high demand for the vaccine.
Questions regarding preregistration and appointments should be directed to the state’s Volusia County helpline at 833.540.2077.
Above all, no county is charging for vaccine reservations. IF someone tells you you must pay to reserve a vaccine appointment, hang up because it’s a scam.
Here are some tips from the Attorney General’s Office to help you avoid COVID- related scams:
To find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations, you can call the Florida Department Of Health COVID-19 Call Center at 866.779.6121 or e-mail COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
We’re making progress in the fight to beat this pandemic. We have to stay safe, by practicing the social distancing and hygiene guidelines we’ve been told for a year, and we have to protect ourselves from scammers looking to prey on the vulnerable.
Take care and stay healthy,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood